(A SEASON OF NEW GROWTH #5)
Monday, June 7th
But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
do not fear, for I am with you,
do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
(Isaiah 41:8-10 NRSV)
In her article, 6 Simple Tips For Staking Your Garden Plants Perfectly Every Time (morningchores.com), Jennifer Poindexter offers us helpful tips and reasons for staking garden plants. Today, let’s reflect on two of these tips as guides for our own healthy growth:
~ Sturdy is Your Friend
“When you are choosing a stake to hold up your heavier garden plants, you’ll want something sturdy. If not, your plants could still end up on the ground. Be sure to pick durable materials which won’t bend under pressure. Keep in mind, when placing the stakes by your bigger plants, you’ll need to consider how large the plant is going to get.”
As we seek to grow with new and abundant life, it is essential to have ourselves properly supported. One facet of our faith is the awareness that we need God’s support and guidance as we live our days. We understand that we cannot live fully or well on our own – and we are grateful that we do not need to! God is our stronghold. God is our guide. God is steadfast. God is secure. God doesn’t “bend” under pressure. We can count on God’s sure and sturdy love to guide and uplift us.
~ Stake When Planting
“It’s important to stake your plants when planting them. If you try to stake your tomatoes after they’ve reached full size, you’ll have a problem. Imagine trying to wrestle a large tomato plant into a tomato cage. It’s going to be difficult to do. However, if you apply the tomato cage when you plant the seedling, it should slide right over, and the tomato will learn to grow upward with support.“
This second tip serves as a good practice for us, too: Always begin with God. Unlike a stake that stands immobile near the plant, waiting for its tendrils to reach and climb, God is a constant, sturdy presence already with us. But as we seek to grow in love and faith, we can maintain touchpoints that keep us present to God’s loving guidance throughout our days. Our touchpoints may be prayer, quiet listening, Bible reading, inner “gut” feelings, guidance from faithful mentors, or noticing what catches our attention.
Before we begin our day, we can ask God to guide and support us. Before we begin any new venture, we can do the same. Each time we face a new challenge or opportunity, each time we are going to speak or act, we can first seek God’s guidance. Because once we begin moving, changing our course or direction becomes more difficult. Our healthiest new growth begins with first staking ourselves in God.
Our “God stake” is not a pole for us to climb, but a mutual, loving embrace for us to keep.
In what ways do you feel God’s supportive embrace? How do you hope to be held, guided and supported today? What touchpoints will keep you aware of God’s steadfast and sturdy love?
One closing thought…
I found this photo so fitting, because it speaks to me of God’s guiding love as a love that leads us in unexpected directions, as a love that helps us to reach across divides, and as a love that creatively transforms us into beautiful gardens of life and love.